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Support No. 1 for Objects with Shafts


This inexpensive system is easy to construct and provides arrows, spears, harpoons, paddles and other large elongated objects with the appropriate support along the entire length of the object (Fig. 1). Full support prevents irreversible curved distortion produced by improper storage practices. This system is not appropriate for objects that are already distorted.

Figure 1. A section of an arrow rack.


Margaret Graham-Bell
1936 Hampshire Road
Victoria, British Columbia
Canada V8R 5T8
Tel (604) 592-8662
Fax (604) 592-4999

Illustrations: Alexia S. Scott after
Maggie Graham-Bell

Publication: 1992


The support is made of either 1/2in or 3/4in wood, depending on the size and weight of the object to be supported. It can be constructed from polymethylmethacrylate sheets as well. The size of the support should be scaled according to the size of the object.

The rack and the backboard can be wall-mounted, either as individual units or as a large, multi-unit system, from floor to ceiling. The height and width of the backboard of the rack depends on the size and number of artifacts to be mounted.

The rack consists of triangular supports with half-circle cutouts and is capable of supporting three objects at each support level.

Materials Tools Supplies

  • Acrylic paint or shellac
  • Auger or plug cutter or similar cutting tool
  • Double-coated tape, acrylic adhesive
  • Paint brush
  • Pencil
  • Polypropylene foam sheeting or polyester felt
  • Sandpaper
  • Saw
  • Screwdriver
  • Screws
  • Solid wood plank, 1/2in or 3/4in thick or polymethylmethacrylate sheets


  1. With a pencil, mark the piece of wood into even sections that will be used for the triangular supports. Each section should be the desired width of the back of each triangular support (Fig. 2). Keep in mind that the length of the support from the wall must accommodate spacing for protuberances from the shaft of the object. For example, the feathers on arrows should not touch any other object.

    Figure 2. Lines are marked on the wood with a pencil.

  2. Drill two or three large holes evenly along each of the pencil lines with a large auger, plug cutter, or similar tool. The size of the hole will depend on the size of the shaft of the object to be supported (Fig. 3).

    Figure 3. Large holes are drilled along the pencil lines.

  3. Saw the piece of wood through the center of the holes to produce a series of half-circle supports (Figs. 4,5).

    Figure 4. Saw lines.

    Figure 5. Inside of half-circles lined with padding.

  4. Sand each support to remove any rough edges.
  5. Coat the support with a layer of acrylic paint or shellac.
  6. To prevent abrasion, line the inside of each half-circle with strips of polyester felt or polypropylene foam sheeting, held in place with double-coated tape (See Fig. 5).
  7. Attach the support to the back board with screws. The screws must be strong enough for the weight that is to be placed on the supports (See Fig. 6). In the case of particularly long artifacts, it is better to have a minimum of four supports, instead of three, at each level.

    Figure 6. Cross section of support attachment to backboard.


Solid woods with low organic acid content are recommended because of damaging volatile acids in many woods, and especially in plywood adhesives. It is particularly important to seal the wood with an acrylic paint or shellac to reduce offgassing. For heavier artifacts, such as harpoons, it is recommended that only one or two half-circles be cut at each level (See Fig. 4). 

Adapted From

Graham-Bell, M. 1980 (summer). Display or storage mounts for arrows. Western Regional Conference Newsletter.

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